It was in 1930 that Gaston Hochar, of Lebanon's Chateau Musar, planted his first vineyards, after returning from Bordeaux. Major Ronald Barton (of Château Langoa-Barton), who was stationed in Lebanon during World War II, befriended Gaston Hochar, strengthening links with Bordeaux and influencing the Musar style.
Gaston's first son, Serge, became Chateau Musars winemaker in 1959, while completing his winemaking studies at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux, under the tutorage of Jean Riberau and Emile Peynaud. 3 years later, Ronald Hochar (Gaston's second son) takes over the financial and marketing aspects of the winery.
It wasn't until 1977 that Serge Hochar finalised the formula for Chateau Musar Reds. 2 years later, Michael Broadbent ‘discovers' Chateau Musar at the Bristol Wine Fair, hailing the 1967 vintage as the “Find of the Fair”. Chateau Musar opens its UK Company to develop its sales into the UK market and thereafter into Europe.
In 1984, Decanter magazine nominates Serge Hochar as their first ‘Man of the Year', recognising his dedication to producing superb wines throughout Lebanon's Civil War (1975-1990).
The family tradition continued in 1994 when Gaston Hochar, Serge's son joins the winery, to later become its managing director and again in 2003 when Ralph Hochar, Ronald's son joins the UK office in charge of sales in the on-trade.
Vintage_2006 saw Chateau Musar obtains its first official , Dietary Requirement_Organic certification for some of its vineyards.
Most recently in 2010, Serge Hochar receives the lifetime achievement award from the German magazine Der FeinSchmeker. Also Marc Hochar, Serge's second son, joins his brother Gaston to help run and expand the winery's activities.
The ‘Chateau Musar' range of wines are this houses most famous range of wines. These are their ‘Grands Vins', each with their unique signature and imprint in the world of wine. Since 1930, every aspect of production – grape sourcing, fermentation, oak-ageing and bottle maturation – has been trialled to achieve the ultimate expression of Musar's specific ‘terroirs' (site-specific interactions of soil, vine, climate and time).
Lebanon's Bekaa Valley has evolved into a major wine-making region, with many wineries scattered along its wide, fertile expanses. It has been famous, over the centuries, for being the agricultural heart of the Middle East.
The 2000 vintage of Chateau Musar is a blend of Cabernet SauvignonCinsault and Carignan – approximately 1/3rd of each. It was fermented in cement vats and then aged for one year in French nevers oak barriques. It was blended and bottled at the end of the third year following the harvest and aged for a further 3 to 4 years in the cellars of Chateau Musar at Ghazir before its release in May Vintage_2007.
The colour is a deep dark perhaps darker than usual at Chateau Musar. The nose is a complex intriguing mixture of figs, prunes, leather, dark tea, tobacco, black olives with spices and a certain earthiness.
On the palate, you will find ripe black cherries, figs, damsons-even chocolate and olives. There is good acidity with nice smooth tannins resulting in a wine which full-bodied, rich and velvety with very long length.